THE investigation into the deaths of three family members who drowned in a resort pool took a turn yesterday after it was revealed the tragic trio could not swim.
Gabriel Diya, 52, and his children Praise Emmanuel, 16, and Comfort, nine, were found unresponsive in a swimming pool at Club La Costa World, in Fuengirola.
But contrary to what investigators initially believed, the remaining sister and mother have informed authorities that none of the three knew how to swim.
It comes after the 14-year-old sister told investigators how she was playing in the pool with Comfort when she slipped and fell into the deep end.
She revealed that the pair had had some swimming lessons but only in the shallow end of swimming pools back in London, where the family are based.
Meanwhile the father and brother, who died while trying to rescue comfort, were never taught how to swim.
According to the sister, when she saw Comfort drowning she screamed for help, attracting their American brother, who arrived first and threw himself in to try and reach her.
When he reached the deep end, the 6ft2 lad also began to have problems.
The father then arrived to the edge of the pool and began to take off his trousers to throw himself into the water.
It was then the sister ran to look for a lifeguard.
The mother, who had been inside the apartment in which the family were staying, in the Phase II urbanisation of the resort, arrived moments later.
The new testimony challenges the previous working theory that a problem with the pool suction equipment had been primarily responsible.
Investigators say that at first, testimonies indicated that the family could swim, while the sister and mother were initially too traumatised to give statements that challenged this.
The GEAS diving police conducted a technical inspection of the pool a few hours after the Christmas Eve tragedy and found a ‘slight’ suction effect towards the pool’s pump – although not one strong enough to drag down three people who knew how to swim.
They then found Comfort’s swimming cap in the pump which also pointed to a suction problem, however no abnormalities were found in any of the following tests.
Meanwhile, an employee, who rescued the bodies from the bottom of the pool, told investigators he found it more difficult to exit the water than usual, despite being an experienced swimmer and surfer.
The pool has now been closed while the resort says it is cooperating fully with the investigation.
Roses were seen laid out around the pool today while family members are believed to be on their way to support the mother and sister.
It comes after the autopsies on Wednesday revealed all three family members died from drowning.
The father’s Facebook account describes him as a manager of Open Heavens London, a branch of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, based in Charlton.
He is listed in his introduction as a ‘Pioneer, Life coach, Entrepreneur, Student, Property Manager, Businessman & PAL Leader’.
The investigation continues.